T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Transcontinental

Well, here we are at the end of summer. We will all try to cram every summer related activity we can think of in over the next four days so we feel like we really took advantage of the weather, long days and nights with the grill. This week’s T.G.I.F. cocktail, the Transcontinental, seems a perfect, summery festive drink for this, the swansong weekend of summer.

Not one, but two Transcontinentals, as one will probably not be enough.

 

1 oz Bacardi Rum
1 oz Remy Martin VSOP
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz orange juice
1 tsp Orgeat syrup (almond syrup)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake vigorously, serve in a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with fresh mint. Enjoy!

 

Watermelon-Fennel Salad

This is a great end of summer salad. It provides a refreshing contrast of flavors and textures – crunchy sweet watermelon and fennel; salty, creamy feta; and ever so slightly bitter greens. It is perfect with grilled or seared fish or chicken, or simply on its own as simple first course. Don’t be afraid to add or substitute. Experiment!

Makes 4 servings

2 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch chunks
¼  red onion,very thinly sliced
¼ fennel bulb,thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper
Juice and grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup crumbled Farm feta
4 cups baby greens

In a mixing bowl, combine the watermelon, onion, fennel, mint, jalapeno, lime juice and zest and grapeseed oil. Season with salt and pepper and gently stir. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. When ready to serve, mound about 1 cup of baby greens on each plate; divide the watermelon-fennel salad over the greens. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the salad.

Serving suggestions: Serve the watermelon-feta mixture chilled on its own or over baby greens.

Variations:

* Mix it up using a combination of yellow and red watermelon.
* Substitute any young soft cheese, such as goat cheese, for the feta.

Nutrition: Watermelon gets its vibrant color from lycopene, the same potent antioxidant found in tomatoes. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C and potassium.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Peach Green Tea

This week’s TGIF cocktail is quite a treat, though it’s not the easiest one to slap together quickly…so we’ve decided to have it available to you as a drink special all weekend long at the Trattoria! It’s many components make a truly balanced, refreshingly light and delicious libation. However, if you don’t happen to have all of these ingredients at home, just come on in to Gigi Trattoria this weekend and have us do the work for you, it would be our pleasure. You will love it!

 Peach Green Tea

2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
3 slices muddled cucumber
8-10 mint leaves
2 ounces organic peach nectar
2 ounces green tea (We use Harney & Sons)
½ ounce honey simple syrup
½ ounce lemon juice

 Muddle mint with honey simple syrup in shaker. Add cucumber, continue to muddle. Add remaining ingredients, fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into ice filled Collins glass. This would also make a great punch bowl or pitcher drink if you are serving a group, it’s sure to impress. Enjoy!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Apricot Julep

The classic julep it a hotly contested beverage, with many preparation variations, though the basic ingredients are generally always the same; bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. We scored some beautifully sweet apricots from Rose Hill Orchards in Red Hook this week and we decided to take a twist on the classic julep and add fresh apricot.

It’s incredibly delicious. Though this isn’t the simplest drink to make, we promise you it’s worth it. The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone, but the Julep is a great sipper all summer long. 

2 ripe fresh apricots (available locally at Rose Hill Orchards)
Approximately 20 mint leaves
3 ounces Bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup (may be adjusted to preferred sweetness desired)
 

Throughly muddle 20 mint leaves (stems removed) with 1 teaspoon sugar. The granular quality of the sugar will work to break down the mint as you muddle, eventually turning it into a fragrant mash. Add quartered apricots, pits removed. Continue to muddle until apricots are broken down and integrated into the mint mash. Don’t worry about the skins, they will be strained out. Add the bourbon and simple syrup and fill the shaker with enough ice to reach the top of the liquid. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty and all components are integrated. Pack an Old Fashioned glass or Julep cup with crushed ice (almost to overflowing.) Strain drink into glass, garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw so that the fabulous fragrance can be enjoyed while sipping. A multi-sensory explosion of goodness to kick off your weekend!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.